Creationism, global-warming denialism, and your child’s textbooks

The two groups of anti-scientific Yahoos have begun to coalesce.

No, the link between creationism and global-warming denialism isn’t just in your head. The two groups of Yahoos have started to coalesce politically, and the result is coming soon – thanks to the power Texas wields in the textbook market – to your child’s school.

Footnote How about having the Department of Education pay for some public-domain textbooks? Other than the obvious economic advantages of that approach, it would provide a source of competition for the reactionary pap Texas now gets to impose on the rest of the country.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

16 thoughts on “Creationism, global-warming denialism, and your child’s textbooks”

  1. I think this is exactly what's coming with e-books. So much content is coming online that the old, expensive textbook model is less and less relevant. So no matter what the dipshits in Texas ram in there a good teacher will just move forward.

    I think the holy grail might be an open source education browser of-sorts that provides a platform that the teacher can frontload content to, and the students can mix/match, & manipulate in realtime. Video, word processing, image, & drawing applications should be readily accessible and simple to save to a personal folder for use between classes. "Lopez – Biology Notes – Mr. Patterson", etc.

  2. The Times story reports that John G West of the Discovery Institute (the main ID group) says the Institute isn't "specifically promoting opposition to accepted science on climate change." This is false. It's been prominently involved in climate-change denialism for years. The convergence isn't new, but the fruit of long effort.

  3. This phenomenon has been observed before and it has been named "crank magnetism" "the tendency of cranks not to mind it when they see crankery in others. More specifically, it describes how cranks of one variety (for instance, HIV/AIDS denialists, will be attracted to another form of crankery (for instance, anti-vaccinationism or the 9/11 Truth movement) because ….. cranks and pseudoscientists see themselves as iconoclasts, brave mavericks opposed to orthodoxy, be it scientific, historical, or other disciplines." (URL: http://contusio-cordis.blogspot.com/2009/11/crank… ) and "vindication of all kooks" (URL: http://contusio-cordis.blogspot.com/2009/12/crank… )

  4. The climate change denialism doesn't surprise me. Most of these religious conservatives also tended to be of the Red-baiting variety back in the cold war, and it shows in their rhetoric – a lot of it is rehashed or revised nonsense about socialism applied to environmentalism.

  5. Don McLeroy isn't the only wingnut that went down in the recent primary elections for the Texas SBOE. A couple of the conservative Republicans held off challenges from the wacko Republicans, so the overall tenor of the board appears to have moved towards sanity.

  6. In case anyone hasn't been paying attention lately, the track record for climate change "research" isn't exactly something to brag about (much less put in a textbook and propogate as real science). As far as creationism, this is an old battle in which the bigotry and anti-scientific close-mindedness of the liberal elite shines bright. Failure to even entertain the possibility that there may be an intelligent designer is the epitomy of anti-intellectualism. Since we're name-calling, I'll tell you who the dumbest people in America are- atheists. Aside from attempting to systematically exlude opposing ideas from the scientific community, their ideas don't even pass basic tests of logic (e.g., the law of non-contradiction as it pertains to the "singularity"). It's no point in debating bigots and idealogues because, although they give lip service to it, they don't believe in reason. Sometimes this nonsense just pissed me off though. It's about damn time we just divide this country in two. All the whacko liberals can go live in California with Mark and teach their kids that we came into existence from a cosmic accident and evolved over time from monkeys, while the rest of us can finally reclaim our country.

  7. Bux,

    ID isn't science and so it shouldn't be in a science classroom. It is that simple, there is very little hatred of intelligent design as a philosophy. On top of that fact you have conflated so many things: atheists with scientists, liberals with Californians, the USA with 'your country', anti-scientific behavior with support for evolution and on and on… it is hard to know where to begin so I'll just say: your sheltered and on message life has to bump into the real world every once and a while and it is always going to rub you the wrong way because what you were taught (seemingly) is that fairy tales are real. Hopefully, one day that last statement will make sense to you.

  8. Finn, ID is in fact science and no amount of repeating that it isn't science is going to make it so. You're entitled to your own opionions but not to your own facts. You can discount the likes of Michael Behe and the Discovery Institute as not being real scientists because you don't like their philosophy but you can't wish it away as being real science. And backing up a step, I never suggested that it be specifically in a science classroom. I think it should also be in a history classroom, since it is one historical accounting of the origins of the universe. Of course if our educational system wasn't so dumb, kids would be taking philosophy in high school too, and would also need to learn about intelligent design there. The logical rules of philosophy pre-suppose science, so really a student should take a crash course in logic or philosophy before even delving into science. As to the accusation of conflation, you're missing my points: 1) I'm not equating atheists with scientists; much to the contrary, I'm suggesting that most atheists are very unscientific, 2) not all liberals are Californians but there sure are a lot of liberals living in California, 3) I believe I referred to "our country" and not "my country"- liberals don't deserve this country anymore and I stand by that, and 4) evolution is a particular case of a general anti-scientific trait. What evidence can you give me that what I belive to be real is actually a fairy tale? Oh, you don't have any? Now what evidence will you accept that what I believe to be real is in fact real? Oh, you probably don't want to go there right? Do you fancy yourself smart Finny boy? If so, respond to the Cosmological argument for the existence of God. Respond to the Moral argument for the existence of God. Respond to the Teleological argument for the existence of God. You're not gonna tell me about flying spaghetti monsters and other catch-phrases that you parrot out of a Dawkins book are you?

  9. Good work Bux. Now just stomp your feet and cover ears while screaming 'your stupid, I'm smart', repeatedly.

    Its all that was missing from that diatribe.

  10. Bux, for once in his life, is correct. "It’s no point in debating bigots and idealogues because, although they give lip service to it, they don’t believe in reason." So please don't feed the troll.

  11. So please don’t feed the troll.

    But it's so fun! Seriously, though, I'll just respond to one, tiny-little-bit-

    Finn, ID is in fact science and no amount of repeating that it isn’t science is going to make it so.

    Oh really? Where's the mechanism, the falsifiable testing, the means of testing whether or not an "intelligent agent" was involved? Where's the quantification? You don't just get to point to evolution and say, "Duh, I dun get it – God did it!" That ain't science, chump.

    That's the reason why Intelligent Design got the beatdown of its life (along with Michael Behe, Mr. "Lies about the state of the science") in the 2005 Dover v. Kitzmiller case.

  12. You just fed the troll Mark. Thanks.

    And Brett, you don't think one court case determines whether something is science or not do you? Now point me to exactly what Behe lied about and provide me with the evidence that you have that he lied. Have you even read Behe? Irreducible Complexity sums up your questions about what makes it science. Don't think because the likes of Behe gets pushed out of the academic community due to deep-seeded biases among the predominately liberal bastion of academia that this somehow makes his work non-scientific.

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